News

MD Tim’s thoughts about Online Security

June 27th, 2018

The days of just a user name and password to protect your data are long gone and a distant memory along with the likes of Netscape Navigator and unrestricted Internet access.

We now live in a world where anyone with time on their hands and the inclination can launch an attack on large national websites, organise a Ransomware attack or break into any number of service providers to steal their customers data.

Hackers and scammers are totally ruthless and wont care one jot if they deprive a little old lady of her life savings just as they will not care of holding an SME to ransom over their data.

As a service provider, we have to guide our customers over the safety of their data. We put all of the possible measures in place such as Antivirus and anti ransomware, robust and reliable back ups that are tested  on a regular basis.

So many times, we come across companies who come to us for help who have very little in place to protect their staff and there systems and data. Just as you wouldn’t chose to leave your doors and windows open when you leave home, you shouldn’t leave your systems open to exploitation as its just a matter of time before you get caught out and rebuilding your data from paperwork and emails is immensely time consuming and potentially could cripple your business.

Over the past year we have seen an increasing number of businesses who are having their emails spoofed (impersonated) tricking generally the bill payer into transferring money to a rogue account. We also have seen unsolicited emails being opened by unsuspecting staff and this in turn launches a ransomware attach that encrypts the data. In order to restore your systems, you will need to wipe the system of all of the encrypted files and data and then restore from a good known back up. This has to be an offsite back up as typically a ransomware attack will disable the antivirus and wipe out any network back-ups or shares.

So what do you need to do to keep safe?

Some basic precautions are as follows:

  • Antivirus and anti ransomware on your end user devices and servers and keep the product regularly updated.
  • Run an up to date firewall and regularly apply any firewall vendor software patches.
  • Windows PCS and servers must be regularly updated with Microsoft critical patches at the very least.
  • Train your staff to be cautious and not to open click on any hyperlinks in any emails that may look suspicious.
  • Change you password on a regular basis and do not make it something that can be guessed. Random words with numbers and symbols to make up what is known as a complex password.
  • Ensure you have an offsite back up of your data that is regularly tested (this is a must and is your bastion of last resort)
  • Do not trust emails asking you to transfer monies out-call the person who has sent the email to verify.
  • Do not take calls from people pretending to be from BT/Microsoft, these companies will never call you. If in doubt look up their contact number on their websites and call them back from a different phone from the one they called you on as they will sometimes not disconnect the call.
  • Call a company in to assist you setting up a robust security strategy, it will be time and money well spent in the long run.

Alchemy announce GDPR statement

March 16th, 2018

Alchemy Systems GDPR Statement

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will be effective from May 25, 2018 is designed to protect the fundamental right to privacy for every EU resident. Simply put, EU residents will now have greater say over what, how, why, where, and when their personal data is used, processed, or disposed. This rule clarifies how the EU personal data laws apply even beyond the borders of the EU and as such is regulation affecting all members, and therefore does not require the UK to draw up new legislation and will apply automatically

Any organization that works with EU residents’ personal data in any manner, irrespective of location, has obligations to protect the data. Alchemy is enhancing its existing data protection policies and providing the right tools and processes to support its users and customers to meet GDPR mandates.

 

Alchemy Systems Commitment

At Alchemy, we have always protected our users’ right to data privacy and protection. As an IT company we treat data security as paramount. Over the years, we have demonstrated our commitment to data privacy and protection by meeting the industry standards for ISO 27001 in the Alchemy Systems International data centers, holding Cyber Essentials accreditation in Alchemy Systems, and have strong data processing and IT systems security systems in place. We are actively now revising them to meet the requirements of the GDPR.

 

How has Alchemy Systems prepared for GDPR?

We have thoroughly analyzed our responsibilities to meet the GDPR requirements and have put in place a dedicated internal team to drive us to meet them. Our ongoing initiatives we built upon –

  1. Appointing our DP (Data Processing) officer as project manager, as we are already on the current DP register we are in good shape and understand what is required to be compliant
  2. Identifying where data is captured and how it is stored, then working on what upgrades are required to be compliant
  3. Logging how we process all information and highlighting data that is affected by this legislation
  4. Improving data breach procedures to identity theft or a confidentiality breach.
  5. Planning a re-education program for all staff

 

When processing data we undertake checks and ensure the following:

  • The processing is lawful, fair and transparent
  • Transparent about what the data is being used for
  • Data is collected for a specific purpose
  • The data is necessary for the purpose
  • The data must be accurate and kept up to date
  • Data is not kept for longer than necessary
  • The data is kept safe and secure

 

We have a Data Protection Policy document distributed to all staff that underpins our responsibilities and process. This can be made available on request and after receipt of a signed NDA.

 

Microsoft & Citrix announce price hikes!

January 3rd, 2018

Important information for all our customers using Microsoft & Citrix – Office SPLA
(Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) – delivered as software as a service that is rented.

We have now had official confirmation of the highly publicised Microsoft & Citrix price increases across the board for all Cloud & on premise rented services. The increase is 11% from Jan 1st 2018 for every product type for all hosted clients

Your account manager will be in contact next week with a representative quote for January 2017’s licence provision; and are on hand if you have any questions.

Please do contact us if you require further explanation in the meantime.

ISO 27001 Quality Assured

November 3rd, 2017

10-1455101470-14128814-iso-27001
We’re delighted to announce that we are now fully complaint with ISO 27001

Tim and Nathan led the generous round of applause for our compliance team passing the ISO 27001 audit with “flying colours” at the recent company meeting.

MD Tim Phillips commented ‘Passing is no mean achievement. In authoring the ISMS, ISRA and 15 x ISP’s we have created some worthy IP, and a live, evolving set of documents that I encourage you all to please be mindful of and keep up to date regularly with’. Additionally Tim commented ‘This would put us in good stead for the forthcoming GDPR legislation in May 2018 and will put Alchemy at the forefront for these new standards’.

Alchemy, winner of ‘2017 Partner of the Year Award’

October 3rd, 2017

Partner of the Year (2)Having attended an Industry awards ceremony in the City of London last week we are our delighted to announce we won the prestigious honour of being named ‘2017 Partner of the Year’ for our global Microsoft distributor intY. Nathan Mills, Director, commented at the ceremony ‘We are all absolutely thrilled and I would like to say a huge thank you to our loyal customers and our amazing staff for getting us the award. Without you all it would never have happened’.

Aaron Watts, intY VP of Customer Experience, was keen to summarise the reasons for the awarding Alchemy.

‘AIchemy are in our Top 10 accounts in the UK for monthly recurring revenues and have doubled your monthly spend in the last 8-9 months. You’ve got a growing O365 base with us and have the largest cloud backup estate with intY.

New ‘Pick and Mix’ Microsoft Office 365 Training Courses

September 5th, 2017

We are delighted to announce we are launching a training ‘Mix and Match’ scheme developed in conjunction with Nova-IT, our training partner. Having spoken to a number of our clients we have found that many of you want the ability to provide short sharp ‘Pick and Mix’ ( 1.5 hours for each session) refreshers on specific functions within Microsoft Office 365.
We have split the 365 ‘Pick and Mix’ programme into 2 categories, Standard programmes (Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint) and Premium.
Contact [email protected] for more information

Microsoft FAQs for 22% price rise

December 9th, 2016

Customer FAQs

Price Increase FAQs

Alchemy Top Tips of August – Office 365 New features

August 25th, 2016

Office 365 with Alchemy SystemsPlanner

Office 365 Groups get a new component called Planner, this is a simple project planning tool. This is currently rolling out so you might not see it in your Apps Menu yet (see First Release below). This will show Plans for existing groups and also allows you to create new groups

 

 

 

See the Planner Demo Video.

 

 

 

Office 365 Video / Streamasd

 

Office 365 Video is currently like an internal YouTube where you can upload training videos etc. It will shortly be evolving to become “Stream” which will integrate more with SharePoint and crucially allow external users to view the videos if you wish.

 

 

 

 

 

Office Mix

This is an add-on for PowerPoint which lets you create and upload a video of your presentation along with narration, annotations and interactive elements like quizzes.

https://mix.office.com/watch/j2egqmszktjh?play

awdaw

Sway

Is a hybrid between a website builder and PowerPoint allowing you to make present information in a more interactive way then PowerPoint

 

Want to learn something new and see how we can decrease your IT costs? 01784223100 or email [email protected]

 

 

Klepto Zepto – How to Reduce Your Chances of Being Hacked in Surrey

July 25th, 2016

Ransomware Security Alert – Klepto Zepto

      

Alchemy Technology Specialists are warning all customers of a new malware variant called Klepto Zepto.  This dangerous new ransomware variant based on the Locky ransomware has already been carried in nearly 140,000 spam messages over the last 4 days. 

The ransomware targets users through emails with a variety of subject lines and sender profiles to encourage the user to read the email. Once opened the email asks the user to look at requested documentation, where the attachments or links activate malicious files which will encrypt your data.

As Ransomware is a deliberate criminal act, the cost of time and recovery will be chargeable as it lies outside the terms of our support agreement. We advise that you follow the recommendations below and if worried then seek independent advice in relation to taking out a cyber insurance policy.

 

Alchemy, recommend the following basic steps to help reduce the risk of ransomware infection:

  • Update – Windows and other applications such as Chrome, Firefox, Flash Player and the Adobe Reader and even WinRAR are known gateways for malware threats.
  • Backup – Make regular off-network backups of all your important files
  • Restrict staff access – ensure that employees only have access to files they require and limit their user permissions.
  • Staff Awareness – Remind staff to not open suspicious emails, click on links or open unknown attachments. When browsing if the website looks strange then check with support.
  • Check your network security – Businesses provide a higher profile target for Ransomware so in addition to basic antivirus we recommend an Endpoint Detection & Response solution such as Adaptive Defense 360

Alchemy would like to offer you a free no-obligation IT Security Consultation – book yours now! Simply reply to this email or call us on 01784 223 100.

5 Mistakes You Are Making With Your “Web Designer”

July 8th, 2016

If your website is making all the profits you need then delete this email, go have a cup of tea or something stronger – and congratulate yourself

 

But if your one of the 99% of the business owners I speak to who are frustrated with their website, or more likely downright fed up at being let down by web people promising you the earth, with your site not making profits you deserve – your desire to read the rest of this email my turn out to be the most important you’ve ever made as a business owner.

 

Here are 5 BIG secrets to running a profitable website:

 

Mistake #1

Pictures, Graphics at the top of the home page, this will lose up to 80% of your customers.

Believe it or not, but you have a whopping 8 seconds to wine and dine your visitor when they arrive, otherwise they will be searching your competitors and their fancy website with credit card in hand.

 

50% of people quit the typical website within 8 seconds

 

Worse still, most visitors will leave before even scrolling down the page, so why waste their time with a picture or rotating image!

 

At Alchemy, I recommend a compelling headline or better still a compelling video like this:
Screenshot Alchemy Internet

 

Mistake #2

Trying to Get on the FREE Listings on Google in less than a month or two.

 

Anyone who can promise you anything like that is either lying or doing something that is blackhat (against Googles rules) and always ends up with removal of the website within 3 months by Google.

 

Unfortunately, you cannot force natural SEO, yes I can improve it and make it last but not force.

 

If SEO is something you’re considering, I suggest paid Adwords with one of our team.

 

 

Mistake #3

 


Lack of Video & Social Media

It is very simple:

 

If a potential customer arrives at your website and its silent – it’s like going to the silent movies, it’s out of DATE. Video is everywhere and even video blogging is taking over blogging.

 

Alchemy have tested over 20 different types of online video to find out which works best.

 

Short videos (2-3 minutes long) work best when clear (not bad quality) with a call to action at the end. For example a tester video we are using now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JzKTM2hT1A

 

Call to action being:
20160628_160207-11

 

This not only calls an action on a new potential customer but increases the chances of them staying for longer than 8 seconds… Which Google Loves!

 

Getting a good online video strategy for your website is important and urgent.

 

Mistake #4


 

This is one of the WORST and most common mistakes I’m seeing…

 

A Non ‘Mobile Friendly’ Website

To keep things understandable within 2016, your website MUST be ‘mobile friendly’ unless you want to reduce your traffic by 74%.

 

74% of potential customers review before they buy anything online. But that’s not what you need to worry about.
fsecure3I am always getting questions through AlchemyInternet.net about SEO.

 

Google’s latest update states that “they will delete non mobile friendly website from their search engines” due to them being out of date or old fashioned.

 

You simply must have a mobile compatible website.

 

Mistake #5


 

Giving the responsibility of your Online Marketing and Financial Future to a Web Developer.

 

People think web designers/developers are all that is needed to success within a website. BUT what they forget is that they are ‘DESIGNERS’ for a reason. They make excellent websites that look modern, slick and stylish.
Alchemy

 

However, there’s no link between website that look nice – and websites that make money.

 

You need a team like the Alchemy Group who not only design, but build a plan to success with selling online. A team that will help with video marketing and social marketing to get your brand new business and customers.

 

Contact the Alchemy team on 01784223100 or [email protected] for a chance to win 5 FREE professional business security antivirus licences and to talk about your website goals.